The Hacienda

Berkley. May 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780593436691. $27. HORROR
DEBUT Set in the 1820s, in the tumultuous years surrounding the Mexican War of Independence, Cañas’s debut introduces readers to recently disgraced Beatriz, who jumps at the chance for a new start when rich, handsome, and widowed Don Solórzano proposes marriage and moves her to Hacienda San Isidro. But this beautiful home is anything but a safe haven. The servants won’t enter the house at night, there are secrets about the first Doña Solórzano, and Beatriz spends sleepless nights under attack. Desperate, she seeks out help from Andres, a local priest with ties to San Isidro. Together they fight to save the house and those who call it home, while finding their true selves along the way. With strong dual narration by Beatriz and Andres, great pacing, well-placed flashbacks that effortlessly offer up the necessary details, and a strong, foreboding sense of place, this is a thought-provoking ghost story with monsters that are at once human, systemic, and supernatural. While the plot may seem to mirror Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, don’t be mistaken—the ghost here is real, and the havoc it causes is nightmare-inducing.
VERDICT For fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic; but also V. Castro’s focus on colonialism, menacing old-world forces, sexism, class struggle, and vengeance; and Alma Katsu’s mastery of historical horror.
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